Creation has been born anew, and a new tale of the Brotherhood of Virtue begins.
It was the season of the monsoon rain. The people of An-Teng were driven indoors by the weather, left to contemplate their fates and guess at their futures. White Tusk, the great folk hero who had promised deliverance from the Realm, had died, struck down by the might of the Wyld Hunt. The Realm had brutally asserted its dominance, chasing hope from the Nine Flowers Rebellion, reminding the Tengese of their place as servants.
Shadow Edge slept restlessly, dreaming of another Age.
When he awoke, it was due to the return of Second Brother Tiger. A confidante of White Tusk, this man was the closest thing the Rebellion had to a leader. Shadow Edge had been loyal to White Tusk as he had; now, in the wake of White Tusk’s death, they were both in mourning. But so were their oppressors – for by Shadow Edge’s hand, Lord Chumbei Rangoon had been ended, and Somchai teetered on the brink of chaos.
Over a meal, Second Brother Tiger explained that Lord Chumbei’s brother and his cousin were both now vying for the seat in the Teak Palace, and lordship over Somchai. The former, Suharo, was a traditionalist, while the latter, Sukano, had ties to the Guild. It was Second Brother Tiger’s intention to sow further dissent between them; with the Realm’s puppets at each other’s throats, the rebellion might have time to gather its strength.
Shadow Edge agreed to this. Thus he set out to assassinate the Guild merchant Serei Utari, who was contemplating switching allegiances to back Suharo, thus cementing his position. Serei Utari lived on a barge, moored in one of Somchai’s great canals; it was guarded by two men, the others taking their time off due to the monsoon.
Slipping aboard the vessel, the man named Shadow Edge slipped a blade between the guard’s ribs, and advanced on the merchant, a wealthy woman. He made the kill quick and clean, thereafter sticking the bloodied knife in a letter from Suharo. Gathering what coin he could, he made a quick getaway, returning to the Nine Flower hideout.
It was there he met Rakios, the Sun-Searing Fist.
Rakios was awaiting him outside the rebellion’s hideout. He had heard that Shadow Edge was responsible for the death of White Tusk, and come to avenge him. Shadow Edge was furious, for the mighty hero had been like a father to him; and so he drew a blade, and turned it on Rakios. As fury overcame him, his Essence surged, and the mark upon his brow began to shine. Rakios was stunned; even as he barely averted a killing blow, he stayed his fists and apologized. He, too, was Exalted, and let his Essence shine, revealing himself as a chosen of the Dawn.
So it was that General Gao met Janira Baccaran, his comrade from the First Age; and so it was that the Brotherhood of Virtue was reunited. The rebels poured out from the houses, having watched this stranger closely; and Rakios turned to them, explaining about the glorious Solar heroes from the distant past. And the rebels knelt before them, and declared their allegiance.
The rebellion had been rekindled. A new dawn had come to An-Teng.